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Guest Editorial

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):030301-030301-2. doi:10.1115/1.4023247.

Before the advent of the ubiquitous term “nanotechnology” in the scientific literature, study of microscale transport phenomena (e.g., boiling on microstructured surfaces) and nanoscale transport phenomena (e.g., combustion/surface catalysis, electrokinetic flows, slip flows, etc.) has been explored quite extensively in the thermal-fluids literature. Hence, the topics explored in this special issue can be misconstrued to be a mature area.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031001-031001-9. doi:10.1115/1.4007567.

A minimal mathematical model describing mass transport in the connecting cilium (CC) of a photoreceptor cell in response to a suddenly increased protein concentration at the base of the CC is developed. Dimensionless governing equations and dimensionless parameters are identified. Analytical solutions are obtained for concentrations of free (diffusion-driven) and motor-driven proteins. The obtained solutions make it possible to predict mass transfer in the CC as a function of two dimensionless transport parameters involved in the model: the diffusivity of free soluble proteins and the transition rate from the diffusion-driven to the motor-driven state. Sensitivities of the obtained solutions to these two parameters are discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031002-031002-8. doi:10.1115/1.4007425.

Uniform silicon nanowires (SiNW) were successfully fabricated on the top, bottom, and sidewall surfaces of silicon microchannels by using a two-step electroless etching process. Different microchannel patterns with the channel width from 100 to 300 μm were first fabricated in a 10 mm × 10 mm silicon chip and then covered by SiNW with an average height of 10–20 μm. The effects of the microchannel geometry, micro/nano-hierarchical structures on pool boiling were studied and the bubble dynamics on different sample surfaces were compared. It was found that the combination of the micro/nanostructures promoted microbubble emission boiling under moderate heat fluxes, and yielded superior boiling heat transfer performance. At given wall superheats, the maximum heat flux of the microchannel with SiNW was improved by 120% over the microchannel-only surface, and more than 400% over a plain silicon surface. These results provide a new insight into the boiling mechanism for micro/nano-hierarchical structures and demonstrate their potential in improving pool boiling performance for microchannels.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031003-031003-9. doi:10.1115/1.4007387.

Dispersing trace amounts of nanoparticles into common base-fluids has a significant impact on the optical as well as thermophysical properties of the base-fluid. This characteristic can be utilized to effectively capture and transport solar radiation. Enhancement of the solar irradiance absorption capacity leads to a higher heat transfer rate resulting in more efficient heat transfer. This paper attempts to introduce the idea of harvesting solar radiant energy through usage of nanofluid-based concentrating parabolic solar collectors (NCPSC). In order to theoretically analyze the NCPSC, it has been mathematically modeled, and the governing equations have been numerically solved using finite difference technique. The results of the model were compared with the experimental results of conventional concentrating parabolic solar collectors under similar conditions. It was observed that while maintaining the same external conditions (such as ambient/inlet temperatures, wind speed, solar insolation, flow rate, concentration ratio, etc.) the NCPSC has about 5–10% higher efficiency as compared to the conventional parabolic solar collector. Furthermore, parametric studies were carried out to discover the influence of various parameters on performance and efficiency. The following parameters were studied in the present study: solar insolation, incident angle, and the convective heat transfer coefficient. The theoretical results clearly indicate that the NCPSC has the potential to harness solar radiant energy more efficiently than a conventional parabolic trough.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031004-031004-5. doi:10.1115/1.4007696.

In this paper, the vibration response analysis of single walled boron nitride nanotubes (SWBNNTs) treated as thin walled tube has been done using finite element method (FEM). The resonant frequencies of fixed-free SWBNNTs have been investigated. The analysis explores the resonant frequency variations as well as the resonant frequency shift of the SWBNNTs caused by the changes in size of BNNTs in terms of length as well as the attached masses. The performance of cantilevered SWBNNT mass sensor is also analyzed based on continuum mechanics approach and compared with the published data of single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) for fixed-free configuration as a mass sensor. As a systematic analysis approach, the simulation results based on FEM are compared with the continuum mechanics based analytical approach and are found to be in good agreement. It is also found that the BNNT cantilever biosensor has better response and sensitivity compared to the CNT as a counterpart. Also, the results indicate that the mass sensitivity of cantilevered boron nitride nanotube nanomechanical resonators can reach 10−23 g and the mass sensitivity increases when smaller size nanomechanical resonators are used in mass sensors.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031005-031005-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007327.

This paper demonstrates greatly improved specific power (W/g) for encapsulated phase change materials (EPCM) as a result of modified interface morphology. Carbon nanotubes are strongly attached to the interior walls of the graphitic foam encapsulation. Microstructure analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) indicates that the wax infiltrates into the carbon nanotubes (CNT) forest and creates an intimate contact with increased interfacial area between the two phases. Specific power has been calculated by measuring thermal response times of the phase change materials using a custom system. The carbon nanotubes increase the specific power of the encapsulated phase change materials by about 27% during heating and over 146% during the more important stage of latent heat storage. Moreover, SEM images of the interface after repeated thermal cycling indicate that the presence of CNT may also improve durability of the EPCM by preventing interfacial gaps and maintaining improved contact between the graphite and PCM phases.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031006-031006-8. doi:10.1115/1.4007698.

The electrochemical interfacial properties of a well-ordered self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of 1-undecanethiol (UDT) on evaporated gold surface have been investigated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in electrolytes without a redox couple. Using a constant-phase element (CPE) series resistance model, prolonged incubation times (up to 120 h) show decreasing monolayer capacitance approaching the theoretical value for 1-undecanethiol. Using the CPE exponent α as a measure of ideality, it was found that the monolayer approaches an ideal dielectric (α = 0.992) under prolonged incubation, which is attributed to the reduction of pinholes and defects in the monolayer during coalescence and annealing of SAM chains. The SAMs behave as insulators until a critical potential, Vc, is exceeded in both cathodic and anodic regimes, where electrolyte ions are believed to penetrate the monolayers. Using a Randles circuit model for these cases, the variation of the capacitance and charge transfer resistance with applied dc potential shows decreased permeability to ionic species with prolonged incubation time. The EIS data show that UDT (methylene chain length n = 10), incubated for 120 h, forms a monolayer whose critical voltage range extends from −0.3 to 0.5 V versus Ag/AgCl, previously attained only for alkanethiol at n = 15. At low frequencies where ion diffusion occurs, almost pure capacitive phase (−89 deg) was attained with lengthy incubation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031007-031007-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007887.

Nanoenergetic materials can provide a significant enhancement in the rate of energy release as compared with microscale materials. The energy-release rate is strongly dependent not only on the primary particle size but also on the level of agglomeration, which is of particular interest for the inclusion of nanoenergetics in practical systems where agglomeration is desired or difficult to avoid. Unlike studies of nanoparticles or nanometer-size aggregates, which can be conducted with ultrafast or nanosecond lasers assuming uniform heating, microscale aggregates of nanoparticles are more sensitive to the thermophysical time scale of the heating process. To allow control over the rate of energy deposition during laser initiation studies, a custom, temporally tailored, continuously variable-pulse-width (VPW) laser was employed for radiative heating of nanoenergetic materials. The laser consisted of a continuous-wave master oscillator, which could be sliced into desired pulses, and a chain of amplifiers to reach high peak power. The slicer allowed control over the time profile of the pulses via the combination of an arbitrary waveform generator and acousto-optic modulator (AOM). The effects of utilizing flat-top or ramped laser pulses with durations from 100 ns to 150 μs and energies up to 20 mJ at 1064 nm were investigated, along with a broad range of heating rates for single particles or nanoparticle aggregates up to 100-μm diameter. In combination with an optical microscope, laser heating of aggregates consisting of 70-nm diameter Al nanoparticles in a Teflon matrix showed significant dependence on the heating profile due to the sensitivity of nanoenergetic materials to heating rate. The ability to control the temporal pulse-intensity profile leads to greater control over the effects of ablative heating and the resulting shockwave propagation. Hence, flexible laser-pulse profiles allow the investigation of energetic properties for a wide size range of metal/metal-oxide nanoparticles, aggregates, and composites.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031008-031008-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007584.

In this paper, we studied the effect of microscopic surface roughness on heat transfer between aluminum and water by molecular dynamic (MD) simulations and macroscopic surface roughness on heat transfer between aluminum and water by finite element (FE) method. It was observed that as the microscopic scale surface roughness increases, the thermal boundary conductance increases. At the macroscopic scale, different degrees of surface roughness were studied by finite element method. The heat transfer was observed to enhance as the surface roughness increases. Based on the studies of thermal boundary conductance as a function of system size at the molecular level, a procedure was proposed to obtain the thermal boundary conductance at the mesoscopic scale. The thermal boundary resistance at the microscopic scale obtained by MD simulations and the thermal boundary resistance at the mesoscopic scale obtained by the extrapolation procedure can be included and implemented at the interfacial elements in the finite element method at the macroscopic scale. This provides us a useful model, in which different scales of surface roughness can be included, for heat transfer analysis.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031009-031009-7. doi:10.1115/1.4007135.

The temperature-dependent thermal conductivity and shear viscosity of liquid water between 283 and 363 K are evaluated for eight rigid models with reverse nonequilibrium molecular dynamics (RNEMD). In comparison with experimental data, five-site models (TIP5P and TIP5P-Ew) have apparent advantages in estimating thermal conductivities than other rigid water models that overestimate the value by tens of percent. For shear viscosity, no single model can reproduce all experimental data; instead, five- and four-site models show their own strength in a certain temperature range. Meanwhile, all of the current rigid models obtain lower values than experimental data when temperature is lower than 298 K, while the TIP5P and TIP5P-Ew models can relatively accurately predict the values over others at a temperature range from 298 to 318 K. At a higher temperature range shear viscosity of liquid water can be reproduced with a four-site model (TIP4P-2005, TIP4P-Ew) fairly well.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):031010-031010-8. doi:10.1115/1.4007522.

A hybrid approach combining fluctuating hydrodynamics with generalized Langevin dynamics is employed to study the motion of a neutrally buoyant nanocarrier in an incompressible Newtonian stationary fluid medium. Both hydrodynamic interactions and adhesive interactions are included, as are different receptor–ligand bond constants relevant to medical applications. A direct numerical simulation adopting an arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian based finite element method is employed for the simulation. The flow around the particle and its motion are fully resolved. The temperatures of the particle associated with the various degrees of freedom satisfy the equipartition theorem. The potential of mean force (or free energy density) along a specified reaction coordinate for the harmonic (spring) interactions between the antibody and antigen is evaluated for two different bond constants. The numerical evaluations show excellent comparison with analytical results. This temporal multiscale modeling of hydrodynamic and microscopic interactions mediating nanocarrier motion and adhesion has important implications for designing nanocarriers for vascular targeted drug delivery.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Briefs

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med. 2013;3(3):034501-034501-5. doi:10.1115/1.4007886.

In this paper, a boundary layer analysis is presented for the natural convection past a vertical cylinder in a porous medium saturated with a nanofluid. Numerical results for friction factor, surface heat transfer rate, and mass transfer rate have been presented for parametric variations of the buoyancy ratio parameter Nr, Brownian motion parameter Nb, thermophoresis parameter Nt, and Lewis number Le. The dependency of the friction factor, surface heat transfer rate (Nusselt number), and mass transfer rate on these parameters has been discussed. The results indicate that as Nr, Nb, and Nt increase, the friction factor and heat transfer rate (Nusselt number) decrease. The mass transfer rate (Sherwood number) increases with Le, Nb, and Nt.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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